How much does a bathroom renovation cost?
The bathroom may be the smallest room in the house, but that doesn't mean it deserves any less of the renovating attention.
From a soothing soak at the end of a hard day to closing the door on the hustle and bustle of life, the bathroom is where you relax, rejuvenate and refresh so it's important to give a bathroom renovation the care and attention it deserves.
When considering the cost of a bathroom renovation, there are many variables to consider including:
- The size of the room
- The scale of the renovation
- The purpose of the renovation
- Style and taste
From our experience, depending on individual requirements, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for a basic bathroom renovation and anywhere in excess of $30,000 for a more complex renovation.
Here's what you can expect within your budget:
Up to $10,000
This is considered a budget renovation and changes are primarily cosmetic. You could replace the colour and style of your tiles and taps, and install a new shower or bath, but re-plumbing and a complete refurbishment aren't achievable within this price bracket.
$10,000 - $20,000
Entering the next bracket gives you a few more options as you're financially able to engage with skilled tradesmen such as plumbers and electricians.
In Australia, we have a minimum wage system with costs increasing dependant on experience and skill level, so you can expect to allocate a large portion of budget to professional labour costs for more complex renovation requirements.
Spending in this price range will provide more choice and flexibility on quality, style and functionality of materials allowing for a more dramatic bathroom renovation.
$20,000 - $30,000
The next price bracket can change the whole look and feel of the bathroom. You could replace a bath with a shower, or even add a spa or wet room to increase the luxury-factor. You can also make minor structural changes including adding or taking down walls.
Spending $30,000 or more will allow you to gut your existing bathroom and re-model the whole area with luxury fixtures and fittings. A complete demolition potentially costs as much as a bathroom in a new build which is fundamentally the same process but with the added expense of taking away the old bathroom.
Whether you intend to live in your home for the foreseeable future, or you're preparing for sale or to increase the appeal with renters, a bathroom renovation is one of the most effective ways to increase and maintain the value of your property. Costs associated with a bathroom renovation should always be considered an investment rather than an expense.
How long does a bathroom renovation take?
A bathroom renovation doesn't have to be a timely exercise.
With a well-executed plan, a minor renovation involving re-tiling and replacing fixtures and fittings could be complete within a week.
For more complex renovations, the following timelines for each area are likely to apply:
- Demolition: two to three days
- Carpentry: up to a week
- Plumbing: up to a week
- Electrician: two to seven days
(Carpenters, plumbers and electricians may work concurrently)
- Insulation: one day
- Plastering: three to five days
- Waterproofing and tiling: one to two weeks depending on the design of the tiles (waterproofing may require a few days to settle before tiling can commence)
- Painting: two days
- Bath or shower installation: one day
- Fixtures and fittings: one day
Between three and five weeks is a realistic time frame for a large-scale bathroom renovation, but you must consider how each area impacts another. For example, if there’s a delay with the electrics, this may hold up the plastering. The plasterer may then be booked on another renovation and unable to return immediately which could delay the painting.
With so many moving parts, it's advisable that you allow enough time to complete the bathroom renovation in case you encounter unavoidable delays.
Which tradies do I need for my bathroom renovation?
You may be tempted to tackle smaller renovations yourself or rope in a grinder-savvy friend, but this DIY approach may end up costing more time and more money if the job isn't completed professionally and subsequently requires repair.
This option should also come with a warning that DIY renos have been known to severely damage relationships!
For complex renovations, we recommend you engage with the following professionals:
There's a lot of time and skill involved in tiling, and while we've all got a mate who knows a mate, the expertise of a professional tiler should never be underestimated.
Choosing an expert from the outset will save valuable time and money, not only in labour costs but also in replacing tiles if they're damaged or unsuitable.
A professional tiler can:
- Remove existing tiles
- Choose the most suitable material for tiles
- Tile walls, floors and showers
- Inspect plans
- Waterproof walls and flooring to ensure longevity
- Repair cracks and holes in existing tiles
A plumber will advise on the plans and design of more substantial bathroom renovations to make sure that wish-lists are realistic.
By choosing a quality, reputable plumber, you're guaranteed to make the most of the space, time and design leading to a fully functioning bathroom that's as stylish as it is practical.
A professional plumber can:
- Plan your layout maximising space
- Install showers and baths
- Relocate and install toilets
- Install a wet room or spa
- Maintain and improve drainage
- Advise of legislation regarding the renovation
- Maintain and repair fixtures and fittings
More common in structural renovations, a builder may be necessary even if your bathroom renovation isn't for a new build.
While a builder may seem extreme for a smaller renovation, if you plan to knock down or re-build any walls, it's essential that you receive professional guidance from an expert to reduce the potential for costly consequences in the event of something going wrong.
A professional builder can:
- Advise on planning permission requirements
- Knock down and re-build walls
- Demolish and remove debris
- Maintain the structural integrity of the whole building
DIY electrics is never recommended but especially in the bathroom where the combination of water and an incorrectly wired plug could be lethal.
A professional electrician can:
- Install spotlights
- Advise on and install mood lighting
- Install or move heated towel rails
- Clean, maintain and install exhaust fans
- Install smart electronics such as speakers in mirrors
For more complex bathroom renovations, also consider engaging with a painter and decorator, carpenter and plasterer.
How to choose a bathroom renovator
If you don't have a project manager, you'll need to select a bathroom renovator yourself which can be a minefield for those with limited experience.
Unfortunately, a lot of tradies get a bad rap, (some with good reason), so you must do your homework and choose carefully considering the following:
Prices vary from one tradesperson to the next, so we recommend getting multiple quotes from www.service.com.au and making an in-depth comparison before selecting a qualified tradesperson.
Reviews and testimonials
These days, consumers understand the importance of reviews and are generally more than happy to share experiences both good and bad.
Read website reviews, social media pages and directories to make sure you're choosing a trusted bathroom renovator. Keep in mind that people have different standards so what may be a bad review for some (such as dirty footprints in the hallway) may be more than acceptable for others.
You'll start to notice trends in reliability, cost-efficiency and customer service, so conduct thorough research and always listen when internal warning bells begin to chime.
All bathroom renovators should have examples of past jobs in the same sphere as your renovations. Don't be afraid to contact the company owner to ask for this. Not only will it help you see if they have the capacity to deliver, but it may also inspire your own design!
While you have a budget to stick to, cheaper isn't always better. Quality bathroom renovators are likely to be booked up in advance and can afford to be selective with their clientele and charge higher rates.
On the other hand, if a bathroom renovator is too cheap, you may want to ask why. They will always have overheads to cover so if it doesn't seem like they're making a profit from your bathroom renovation, they may be cutting corners somewhere in the process which should cause concern.
Cost alone can rarely be used as a standalone measure but to make sure you choose a tradie within your budget, get quotes from three or four bathroom renovators from www.service.com.au to highlight where your preferred bathroom renovator sits on the scale.
The online profile of your bathroom renovator is telling. Those committed to a good website and advertising with reputable directories demonstrate a commitment to their business which is likely to extend into service levels and reliability in your renovation.
Does my bathroom renovator need to be licensed?
A central licensing body for all trades doesn't exist within Australia.
Governing regulations vary from trade to trade and state to state, so assess all bathroom renovators and applicable trades individually before you begin.
Within a bathroom renovation, the only two trades which must be fully-licensed by law are plumbing and electrical.
License Hero is a comprehensive Australia-wide guide to tradies who hold a license, but again, it's not a legal requirement for bathroom renovators to add their license details to this directory.
If you live on the border of a state, you must also make sure that bathroom renovators travelling interstate are licensed to operate in your area too.
All plumbing employees who provide their service to others must hold a current and valid license unless they're a supervised apprentice. Governing bodies vary across the states and territories in Australia so always check with your local authority.
Electricians in Australia must be licensed before they can practise on their own, except apprentices who must be under supervision from a licensed electrician. In Queensland, you can check the status of an electrical contractor’s license here.
Regardless of licensing requirements, it's the responsibility of the property owner or project manager to make sure the bathroom renovator is qualified and insured. If an unlicensed tradesperson isn't insured and causes damage, you will be responsible for any loss incurred.
We strongly recommend you always view a valid insurance certificate and relevant licensing paperwork before starting your bathroom renovation.
Bathroom renovation step-by-step guide
While a bathroom may be the smallest room in the house, it's also the one room nobody can live without so it's essential to execute a bathroom renovation with precision to minimise disruption to daily life.
Step 1: Plan
Make sure you have any necessary council approval before starting the renovation.
Prepare a vision board of styles and themes you like so you know the look you're trying to achieve from the outset. Changing your mind during any stage of a bathroom renovation is likely to cause delays to the project and must be avoided where possible.
Always set your budget and commit to sticking to it. Access to a financial buffer is recommended so if something unexpected crops up, the whole renovation won't be delayed.
Step 2: Execute
Coordinate the tradespeople required; typically, they'll be required in this order:
A builder will assess the structure and coordinate any demolition required.
A plumber will complete plumbing and drainage works and remove and reinstall baths, showers and toilets where required
An electrician will install lighting and heated appliances such as towel rails and heaters.
d) Tiler or waterproofer
Once the essential amenities are in place and functioning, a tiler will prepare the floor and walls for tiling by waterproofing walls and flooring. This takes a few days to develop before the tiles can be laid.
e) Painter and decorator
A painter or decorator is last on the list and will paint walls and surface design that complete the overall aesthetics of the bathroom.
Step 3: Inspect and clean
In an ideal world, your bathroom renovation will be completed on time and within budget ready for inspection.
Once you’ve inspected and you’re satisfied, now all that's left is step 4…
How to plan your bathroom renovation
1) Write a wishlist
Before you engage with a designer, get all the ideas for your ideal bathroom out of your head and onto paper in a scrapbook or vision board.
If you don’t know where to start, make a list of everything you like and dislike, in both design and function, so the designer has a starting point. As much input as you can give at this point will make sure the first draft of your bathroom design is as close as you can get to your perfect bathroom.
2) Work out what you can keep
If you’re working within a strict budget, it will reduce labour costs to keep plumbing and electrics where they are and work within the existing framework. Decide which accessories (towel rail, bath shower, bath, sink) are still functioning and consider working around them too.
3) Take measurements
A bathroom is usually a small space, so it’s essential that every centimetre is maximised to create a bathroom renovation that’s both attractive and practical. Accurate measurements will allow adequate space for fixtures, fittings and storage cupboards.
4) Choose colours
The reliable 60-30-10 rule is particularly relevant in small areas such as a bathroom where it can be easy to overpower a room with too much colour. Choose three colours and proportion them into 60% for the most dominant colour (generally walls and flooring), 30% for the next followed by 10% for accessories such as bath and shower mats.
This figure isn’t an exact science but is a rough guide that will help you achieve balance in a small room.
5) Choose tradespeople
Once you know the precise requirements of your bathroom renovation, you can engage with the relevant tradies who will execute your renovation. Use Service.com.au to find local tradespeople who have the capacity and skill to deliver a bathroom renovation on time and within budget.
The planning is done, it’s now time to start your bathroom renovation! Let the household know what they can expect and if you only have one bathroom, arrange to use the facilities of a neighbour or friend to make life easier.
How often should I renovate my bathroom?
Bathrooms are exposed to a lot of wear and tear.
Steam, moisture and incorrect drainage all take their toll on materials, and you're likely to find that bathrooms require renovating more than any other room in the house.
If your bathroom renovation was extensive and carried out professionally, you may want to consider renovating between every five and ten years to update features and make sure the bathroom is still in style.
If you're preparing your house for sale, a bathroom renovation should always be part of your plan. A dark and dingy bathroom is likely to put off potential buyers and hint at problems with mould or structural integrity.
Keeping a bathroom clean, fresh and bright will improve the feel and overall energy of your home encouraging buyers.
At Service.com.au, we take your bathroom renovation requirements and turn them into recommended tradespeople who can deliver your project on time and within budget.